Sunday, September 17, 2006


Get Married In A Park
Giant & Old Faithful Caught Together

.. Two of the most lucrative aspects of profiteering in the National Parks are: 1) the wedding business and, 2) the "FREE" use of park facilities for religious services. You won't hear about this from conventional news sources. You won't hear about it from members of congress. You won't hear about it from the National Park Service. You won't hear about it from the gateway communities.

<-nps photo
.. Weddings and wedding tours start in the neighborhood of $2,500 and go up from there. These take place in Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, Arches, Grand Tetons, etc. They are often run by the same concessionaires that peddle you around the park in exhaust spewing luxury vans, and buses, and limousines. Some use helicopters or horses or rafts. What a kick. (Arches has a $50 wedding permit fee.)
.. Glacier Park, Inc. promotes it's weddings and charges for the services. They even include a 2.75% utility surcharge for staying in any of the five properties in the park.
.. Even more surprising is that the permit to hold religious services in Yellowstone is free - although if it's a wedding, the commercial photographer must pay a fee. This includes the chapel at Yellowstone.

.. Scheduling is a problem because there are already established special interests that have tied up most dates. There must be some kind of exclusive access that allows the perpetuation of "established" ministries to continue year after year. Of course free-will offerings and collections are allowed!
.. We wonder why the whiners who decry the commercialization of our parks ignore this aspect of filthy lucre? We refuse to speculate.
..We do know that maintenance, heating, & electricity in park facilities are expenses that could be offset by fees. We also know that the National Park Service was not created to subsidise weddings or religion. And, we doubt that these functions - IN ANY WAY - protect or preserve the resources. So; what gives? We've received no answers to our inquiries.

.. The Deseret News just ran an article under religion and ethics about this very situation. The piece includes many glowing remarks from religious entrepreneurs & praises for the parks. Although The NPS is charged with oversight for the public structures at Yellowstone; General Ranger Daven Hafey is quoted as saying that ". . .he doesn't know how many people attend because the Park Service doesn't get involved."
.. The Old Faithful Web Cam has just caught another wonderful "double." On screen is Friday's simultaneous eruption of Old Faithful & Giant Geysers. Giant, you may recall, has been surprisingly active throughout the Summer, and now that Fall weather and moisture have returned to the region there is hope that this behavior will continue.
.nps web cam photo.